As far as lifetime achievements go, Katie Spotz is doing exceptionally well for age 23. Last year, she became the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Then, Glamour magazine named her one of its Women of the Year alongside Queen Rania of Jordan, Julia Roberts and Cher. "Sometimes you wonder why you're doing these things and if it matters," says Spotz, who was featured in our January 2010 Most Interesting People issue. "Knowing that this is the result and that people do care inspires me to keep doing what I'm doing."
Cleveland Magazine: What was the Glamour Women of the Year awards ceremony like?
Katie Spotz: [It was] a total rush of emotions. ... To be surrounded by all these women was just amazing. To see the world's 18 female heads of state there was very surreal and inspiring. ... I met Oprah in the green room. I think she's a pretty incredible woman.
CM: What motivates you?
KS: I'm a very curious person, so that, time and again, gets me going. I'm always curious to see if I can do it. I'm very lucky to have the gift of endurance, and I want to help others through it. I found a way to raise awareness through adventure. It's exciting to know that what I'm passionate about is helping others.
CM: You've had other adventures, such as running across the Mojave Desert. What's been your favorite?
KS: Each was significant, but the row was the most challenging, so I think I gained and grew the most [from it]. I couldn't avoid my feelings or frustrations, so I just had to learn to be accepting, patient and stubborn enough to stick it out.
CM: What's next?
KS: My fellow ocean-rower [Sam Williams] and I are doing a bicycle race called Race Across America. It's a coast-to-coast race where we'll cycle about 400 miles a day. We have shifts of two hours on, two hours off, 24/7. ... It's supposed to be harder than climbing Mount Everest. I think we're up to it.
More Info: rowforwater.com